Sign up for Marydee Sklar’s newsletter. She trained me to be an executive function skills teacher. You’ll love her pithy blogs. Here’s Marydee’s blog about a brain party.
Mary Ellen, my business partner at The Time Professionals, has created almost 100 short videos on all the executive function skills. She’s also the artist of all the cartoons that accompany these fun and informative videos. Check them out at gobraingo.com. Subscribe to access all of them for one month for only $14.95, or better yet, opt for an annual membership. Take this quick quiz. You’ll be fascinated by what you learn about your brain.
If you live in Sonoma County, try some probiotic water kefir (kombucha) from Enlivened. It’s the tastiest and healthiest drink that you’ll ever have — root beer, cola, chocolate, jasmine green tea, hibiscus, lemon, etc. YUMMY flavors. Text or call — 707-634-4906 Buy them by the half gallon.
David Allen, my favorite time management author of Getting Things Done, wrote a brilliant blog about the only 2 problems you ever have in life. It all boils down to knowing what you want and figuring out how to get it, or not knowing what you want and trying to figure out what it is. Strong executive function skills make your dreams come true.
David Sedaris, writer and comedian, wrote a humorous piece in the New Yorker about sleep being the new sex when you’ve been married a long time. You just might agree with him. My husband and I do!
Over the years Mia Svarvas has taken many classes from me. She’s an American living in Germany. This is an article that she wrote about taking off one day a week from the internet to restore her sense of balance; she calls it “untethering.” Do you think you could do it?
Here are some of my recommendations for series/movies (in no special order) but WARNING —they can wreak havoc with your time management system. Be judicious because you don’t want to say on your deathbed that all you did in your life was stare at a screen. Try to resist watching multiple seasons of shows. That’s why I really enjoy some of the mini-series that don’t tempt my response inhibition/impulse control executive function skill. Since the pandemic, we’re actually all watching screens too much (an average of 11 hours per day!) and getting hooked to tamp down our anxiety. Remember what I said at the beginning of this newsletter — we humans have anxiety most of the time. Screens mesmerize our brains into a trance. When we’re in a trance, we get “high,” but we can’t get the dopamine that is so much more fulfilling and deeply satisfying resulting from doing something, not just spectating. Make your new mantra for the sake of your brain health — Just Do Something!
The Social Dilemma — a must-see documentary, especially for every parent, by Tristan Harris, the founder of Humane Technology. Even if you think you know how you’re being manipulated by the internet, you really don’t until you see this film.
Sex Education —a British comedy series about a sex therapist Mom whose teenage son becomes a sex therapist to his peers in high school. Amazingly enough, the sex/relationship information is actually really good.
Call My Agent — my French students are going crazy over this series. Everyone else is, too, including the French! Just about every episode is top notch. It’s a comedy about a talent agency in Paris and the relationships in the office and with the movie stars they represent. There are some terrific guest appearances by famous French film stars.
One book that everyone must read, the most beautiful and poetic novel that I’ve ever read, is called, This is Happiness by Niall Williams. It takes place in Ireland. It was voted #1 book of the year in 2020 by The Washington Post. I was so enthralled by it that I bought 14 copies as gifts. You’ve never read a book written like this one with a simple yet profound story and characters you’ll never forget.
In my mindfulness class on gratitude, one student suggested taking a photo of what you’re grateful for so that you can look at it and make it come alive for you. It could be a person, place, thing, animal, a passage from a book, a poem — really anything. Start surrounding yourself with photos of what you want to give thanks to. Put them up or look at them on your phone. Wouldn’t that be a great way to greet yourself every morning when you get up?
This little video will uplift your spirits any day of the week. It’s called Le Petit Chef.
Dorie Clark interviews Steven Kotler, author of the book, The Art of Impossible. Interesting tips on diet, exercise, baths, reading, getting into your flow, etc.
Learning a new language is the perfect way to improve your mental flexibility, an important executive function skill. (By the way, I teach French, Spanish, music theory, and piano. Yes, music is another language!) You’ll have to reframe what you think about another culture and your own and that’s always worthwhile doing. Psychological flexibility is apparently the key executive function skill to relationship success. After conducting 174 studies on couples, that is what The British Psychological Society discovered.
The Theater of War Zoom productions were my life-saver throughout the pandemic. Leading international actors present dramatic readings of classical Greek tragedies followed by audience discussion about present day societal issues. Hundreds of people of all walks of life and ages very thoughtfully and deeply offer their comments after the readings. You’ll be hooked after you try just one. They’re always free.
Read this insightful short passage from Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. A relationship is a dance. A successful relationship is finding that balance in your dance with your partner: you can’t hold on too tightly or too loosely, otherwise it will fall apart. When I first started teaching relationship education in 2002, most of my students denied that they experienced so much anxiety in their daily lives; they thought it was a disorder that the mentally ill struggled with. Little did they know how wrong they were! Everything in life is about anxiety. The answer is pretty simple but hard to do -— choose love over fear as many times as you can each day, because fear and love cannot and will not ever happily co-exist.
Melissa Smith Baker, MA is a teacher par excellence. She has devoted decades to teaching people of all ages how to easily learn foreign languages, make music, budget their time and money, and build lasting relationships.
707-228-0287 • firstname.lastname@example.org • thetimeprofessionals.com/melissa-smith-baker